New Ways to Support the Black Autist

Hello beautiful people, including autists worldwide!

People have been asking me if I have a donation page or a page where they can support my work financially. I notice more folks are seeking to support black creators and black owned enterprises.

With that being said, I have decided to create a couple of avenues where you can financially support the Black Autist. All proceeds will go towards the operation costs of running the blog and related business, including media equipment, media software, travel expenses for projects outside of the Chicagoland area, and website maintenance.

You can contribute in the following ways:

– You can donate money to the Black Autist by clicking the following link: https://www.paypal.com/biz/fund?id=A9XAMT7Q9HN8A

or

– You can purchase any The Black Autist merch at https://www.teepublic.com/user/the-black-autist

Any financial contribution towards the blog would be great; I will appreciate it. I will also be stoked if you buy merch from the Black Autist storefront.

If you don’t have the cash, that’s okay. Still share the links to anyone who are able and willing to give financial support! In the future, I will figure out incentives for people who financially support the Black Autist.

Thank you,

Timotheus

The Black Autist Merch now on TeePublic

PDF version of what the Black Autist storefront looks like. Visit https://www.teepublic.com/user/the-black-autist

Happy Saturday everyone! If you’re looking for merchandise that shows your support for The Black Autist or if you want to display your black autistic pride, you have come to the right place!

You can now get The Black Autist and Black Autistic Acceptance merch at The Black Autist‘s storefront on the TeePublic website. I sell merchandise with both logo on them, including t-shirts, pins, notebooks, phone cases, pillows, and much more!

In fact, for the next two to three days, TeePublic is running a discount on all my items. So if you need something that represents your black autistic pride, now is the time to do so while this promo lasts.

Check out and share the following link to the Black Autist store front to everyone: http://tee.pub/lic/theblackautist

May your weekend be a relaxing and safe one, wherever you may be!

Godspeed,

Timotheus

Support CESSA: Timotheus Speaks on how CESSA Will Change Lives for Autistic People in Illinois

Image Description: Two people sitting on the bench, facing each other. On top left and bottom right corners, there is a phrase that reads: Community Emergency Services and Supports Act. Painting courtesy of Genevieve Nutley Silva

Good morning everyone,


For those who don’t know me, I’m Timotheus and I am the blogger and founder of the Black Autist. I use the blog to promote autism acceptance, inclusion, and disability acceptance, culture, & justice in the African Diaspora.

I am also proud to be a part of the group (which is Advance Your Leadership Power, at Access Living) that helped bring CESSA, or the Community Emergency Services and Support Act, to life! I’m thankful to have a been part of supporting the bill, and when it passes, it will benefit autistic people in Illinois immensely.

CESSA is a bill in which the focus of responding to mental and behavioral health emergencies will shift from the police to mobile response options similar to first responders in physical emergencies. The mobile response unit can take people to local resources that could help them in crises, and the best part…the people can choose where to go.

On a personal level, this would benefit me and a lot of people on the autism spectrum. Because of how we see the world differently from neurotypicals and some may not understand us, we face increase fear of law enforcement getting involved. We are scared to either go to jail, forced into going to a hospital, or face police brutality because we’re seen as a threat.

We are not a threat! I am not a threat! All we want is safe access to mental and behavioral health care that is not restrictive and doesn’t involve law enforcement.

CESSA will create opportunities for autistic people to navigate their mental and behavioral health and on their own (or interdependently with a support team), while accessing mental and behavioral health resources in the community and having the option to seek support from someone in your support group (whether you go to that person’s house or you go to the organization that the person is working for). It will diminish the need for police to come in; meanwhile the bill will create opportunities for first responders and volunteers to safely transport autistic people in crisis to supports and resources.

CESSA will benefit me, as a black autistic man in Chicago. Because of instances of police brutality towards disabled, Deaf, autistic, and neurodivergent people of color, and my own fear of hearing loud sirens and seeing the police approach me in any way, I refuse to call 911 if I’m in a crisis or need to go a resource (or someone in my support team) to address a meltdown or emotional shutdown. Instead, through CESSA, I would place my trust in mobile units who can help me get to the resources and people I need to address whatever is going on with me mentally and emotionally.

From now until October 12 – 16, you too can share your story and the importance of CESSA to state legislators! Join me in spreading the word about CESSA. Visit the following link for more info on how to support CESSA:

https://www.accessliving.org/get-involved/join-a-community-organizing-group/advance-your-leadership-power/cessa-virtual-lobbying-week

Godspeed,

Image Description: Grinning African-American cis-male person with glasses, Afro, and blue Pikachu face mask, holding a green apple

Timotheus

Related Links:

1) CESSA Virtual Lobbying Week (October 12 – 16, 2020) https://www.accessliving.org/get-involved/join-a-community-organizing-group/advance-your-leadership-power/cessa-virtual-lobbying-week

2) CESSA Bill Would Create Alternative Emergency Response System for Mental/Behavioral Emergencies https://www.accessliving.org/newsroom/press-releases-and-statements/my-brother-would-still-be-alive-today-cessa-bill-would-create-alternative-emergency-response-system-for-mental-behavioral-emergencies/

3) Mobile Response For Mental and Behavioral Health Emergencies https://www.accessliving.org/defending-our-rights/racial-justice/community-emergency-services-and-support-act-cessa

4) Frequently Asked Questions about CESSA (the Community Emergency Services and Support Act) https://www.accessliving.org/defending-our-rights/racial-justice/community-emergency-services-and-support-act-cessa/cessa-frequently-asked-questions

5) Justice for Stephon Watts blog: https://justiceforstephonwatts.com/post/621744318762336256/the-community-emergency-services-and-support-act

6) CWTA CORE PRINCIPLES FOR POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY REFORMS http://chicagowomentakeaction.com/2020/07/cwta-core-principles-for-police-accountability-reforms

7) Commentary: A Mental Health Response for 911 Calls Could Save Lives https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-opinion-police-911-mental-health-services-20200825-zo7gk627kzhlbk4tb3infc2vea-story.html

8) Why You Should Care About Black Autistic Lives And CESSA https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferpalumbo/2020/09/01/black-autistic-lives-matter/#5e4bc04d427d

9) Bill Status of SB 3449 (101st General Assembly) https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=3449&GAID=15&DocTypeID=SB&LegId=125173&SessionID=108

10) Bill Status of HB 5009 (101st General Assembly) https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=5009&GAID=15&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=125226&SessionID=108&GA=101

#ADA30InColor

via Disability Visibility: Graphic with a white background and at the top is a row of colorful paint in rainbow colors dripping down. Text in black reads: “#ADA30InColor July 26th, at 4 pm PT/ 7 pm ET. Join us for a panel of #ADA30InColor contributors, moderated by Andraéa LaVant, as they discuss the future of disability and the work to be done. Co-organized by the SFPL, Disability Project, and Longmore Institute on Disability at SFSU. ASL and live captioning will be provided. https://tinyurl.com/ADAinColorPanel

Good day everyone! Let’s wish the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a very happy 30th birthday.

If you’re looking for fresh prespectives on the impact and future of the ADA, then check out the #ADA30InColor writing series. Edited and compiled by Disability Visibility, the #ADA30InColor series is a collection of essays from disabled people of color that illustrates what the bill has meant to them and how ADA can do better in the disablity community of color. Check out their content at https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/ada30/

Also, today at 6pm Central Time, you can listen to some of the writers speak their works in #ADA30InColor.

Note: I will be one of the speakers in the event.

Learn more and sign up at: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/2020/06/10/7-26-ada30incolor-online-event/

Godspeed,


Timotheus

Free Matthew Rushin!

Happy Juneteenth everyone!

While we celebrate the official end of slavery in the former Confederate states (which led to the legal end of slavery in ALL U.S. states and territories later, thanks to the 13th Amendment) and the progress of African-American communities in the US since 1865, we must continue to liberate black people everywhere and work towards a vibrant, equitable, and more just future for black people.

That includes black autistic people. Like Matthew Rushin.

The details are graphic so I will leave a link that goes into detail about his case later.

Nevertheless, black autistic, neurodivergent, Deaf, and disabled people are constantly targeted by law enforcement and are subjected to state violence by law enforcement. In fact, between 1/3 and half of the police violence cases covered in media involve victims who have a disability or lived experience with mental health. And though I don’t have the statistics with me at this moment, I am certain that most of the cases in the media are connected to race and disability in some form. People like Sandra Bland, Korryn Gaines, Quintonio LaGrier, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, Jamycheal Mitchell, and other disabled/Deaf/neurodivergent black people.

Add Matthew Rushin to the list. He is currently in jail for nothing, besides for his autism, neurodivergence, and blackness. Even the people involved in the car cash said that it was an accident, but the police still locked him up. Rushin did not commit murder.

It’s time for the black community and allies to liberate ALL black people. Especially black people with disabilities and lived experiences with mental health.

Let’s start with freeing Matthew Rushin!

You can do the following things to help:

Read and share his story: https://neuroclastic.com/2020/06/12/matthew-rushin-and-the-injustice-system-the-worst-nightmare-of-every-parent-of-an-autistic/?fbclid=IwAR0ybv7rH3HMuLT1YXFsfjpPQRpboCLz8ARsr08a85oFbnAUceRFrafUCQY

Follow the Free Matthew Rushin Facebook like page and learn more about how to help or which information to share to your circles: https://www.facebook.com/FreeMatthewRushin/

Sign and share the petition, encouraging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to pardon Matthew Rushin: http://chng.it/Wp26CMrtxc

Donate or share the legal fund page: https://ca.gofundme.com/f/SAVING-MATTHEW-RUSHIN?fbclid=IwAR3jRLGLfYpMMgFoMmHbpgzEY2wo5xPJfhK_FCN2uK0fxzqRcXIl_EJONXY

For more information or more ways to help, visit the following link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BOBuQeLbHTMs3DvykRK6WaqmcC0US7_NAKaa1uuc7e4/edit?fbclid=IwAR0JkmPmMU62BYOsV7y9FdQgQzxeFsiUYW2N-HFPyqkOabC7LA_8e6yav8A

Thank you,

Timotheus

#AccessibleJuneteenth Social Media Campaign

Image description: red background; green letters that say “#AccessibleJuneteenth”; logo consists of multi-colored fists, with a black stick figure of a wheelchair user holding a sign. Under the logo is white letters that say: “Images courtesy of I Love Melanin and Creative Commons; Logo made by Timotheus “T.J.” Gordon, Jr. of “The Black Autist”; Note: This is NOT for commercial use.”

Happy Juneteenth everyone!

June 19th marks the day where in 1865, the South became officially free of chattel slavery when the Union troops came to Texas to deliver the Emancipation Proclamation to black slaves. It’s one of the dates where we celebrate freedom in Black America.

However, we should also celebrate the black disability community too and our freedom to joys!

Hence, that is why I came up with #AccessibleJuneteenth. Every June 19th, starting this year, any black disabled, Deaf, autistic, or neurodivergent person in the African Diaspora (including the United States) can share their Juneteenth celebration or anything related to black disability community (history, music, culture, clothes, shoes, family, events, actions, business, etc.) on their social media page. You can also post videos or pictures of you and loved ones enjoying Juneteenth, whether you’re outside, at home, or celebrating virtually. I will do the same throughout the day today.

Make sure to sure the hashtag #AccessibleJuneteenth in each of your posts.

Enjoy your Juneteenth!

Godspeed,

Timotheus

Illinois COVID-19 Resources For People W/ Disabilities in Marginalized Communities

Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition and Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance, with support from The Arc of Illinois and Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, created a COVID-19 resource for Illinois disabled people in marginalized communities. It’s available in English and Spanish.

Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition

Image Description: blue background, black silhouettes of people in different heights and ages. There’s a wheelchair user in the middle of the image

Hello everyone!

We have great news: Chicagoland DPOCC and the Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance, with support from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities and The Arc of Illinois, have created a statewide COVID-19 resource list for disabled people in Illinois who are in marginalized communities (for example, people of color, immigrants, and people in the LGBT+ communities). You can get more information on things such as the truth and myths about the shelter-in-place order, how to keep yourself safe from the illness, how to get or make face masks, where to go to find free clinics, and much more.

The list is available in English and Spanish. Shout-out to Jaime “Jay” Cornejo for translating the resource list to Spanish.

You can download the English and Spanish version…

View original post 66 more words

The Effects COVID-19 on the Disability Community — by CommonGround:ADA Approved

We’ve all heard of the virus that has created this global pandemic and its effect across the world. CDC and News stations has reported the effects it may have for those who are recognized as a senior citizen or above the age of 65 years old as well as the increasing number of Black […]

The Effects COVID-19 on the Disability Community — CommonGround:ADA Approved

#NoBodyIsDisposable

Image Description: African-American cis-male with locs, glasses, and a black face mask. He is holding up a white sign that reads: #NoBodyIsDisposable; ALL BIPOC Autistic + Neurodivergent Folks’ Lives are Worth Saving and ALL of us are of Priceless, Precious Value!

Scared of COVID-19? Angry that triage plans target disabled, fat, old, HIV+ and sick people, and folks with a perceived poor “quality of life”? Who will suffer disproportionate impact? People of color, poor folks, immigrants, queer and trans folks, incarcerated and homeless folks, and others considered disposable by capitalist, white supremacist society.


HELL NO!
NO! NO! NO!
WE ARE NOT DISPOSABLE!!


People of color & disabled people DESERVE TO LIVE — EUGENICS WILL NOT HAPPEN ON OUR WATCH!!!

WE DEMAND:

No discriminatory triage plans or practices!

Avoid the need for triage by preventing folks from getting sick — more shelter in place and financial support to do so!

Repurpose factories to make personal protective equipment and ventilators!

THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES! NoBodyIsDisposable.org
SPREAD THE WORD! PLEASE SHARE WIDELY!


Post your SOLIDARITY SELFIE with all this text and show us that you are in this fight with us!

#NoBodyIsDisposable

#NoBodyIsDisposableCOVID19

#noICUgenics

#NoEugenicsOnMyWatch

#DisabledNotDisposable

#DontGoDownWithoutAFight

#SolidaritySelfie

#JustSayNoToGenocide

#ImAPersonNotADifficultDecision

#WeAreAllVentilatorWorthy

#FatNotDisposable

#FatAndValuable

#FatNotForgotten

#FatAndBreathing

#ShareTheAir

#AirForAll

#HelpThemDoNoHarm

#LivesBeforeCapitalism

#PPEsForThePeople

#ItsNotAHardDecisionItsMurder

#TriageEquality

#TargetedByTriage

#WeAreEssential

#DontRationOurCare

Person with Autism, or….Autistic Person?

Image description: Calendar symbol that reads: November 1; rainbow infinity symbol is in the middle of calendar symbol, behind the black 1 numeral. Above the 1 and the infinity sign reads: Autistics Speaking Day

Happy Belated Autistics Speaking Day everyone! I apologize for not writing this post sooner, for I feel asleep for the night early and I forgot all about it.

For my autistic folks out there, especially autistic people of color (including autistic people in the African Diaspora), I hope you all not only came across Autistics Speaking Day posts, but also spoke out or shared those posts as well. In fact, I encourage more autistics of color to blog every November 1st, or any day in general, because we need more voices from that community and our voices are often overlooked.

With that being said, let’s address the elephant in the room, in which it is a debate within the autistic community.

Shall we call ourselves “people with autism” or “autistic people”?

I have a proposal: why not have the option to be called either one based on your preference? As a group, we should allow for us autistics to express our identity in ways that makes us comfortable, while still maintaining pride and acceptance of our identity. If someone wants to be referred to as ‘an autistic person’, so be it. If someone wants to be referred to as ‘a person with autism’, may the Force be with them also. I think we should also all agree on providing a list of terms that should not be used within the autistic community, such as ‘stricken with autism’, ‘touched by autism’, etc.; we don’t want to see those kind of words uttered among us as (some) neurotypicals already use those words or phrases to describe us in a negative way.

So…what is the big deal with “a person of autism” vs “autistic person”, you may ask?

It’s about using person-first language or identity-first language. In some sectors of the disability community, people prefer ‘person with a disability’ because they would like peers to see their personality first before their disability or medical condition. On the other hand, some people in the disability community refer to themselves as “disabled people”. That phrase is based on the belief that disability is more than just a medical condition; disability is a part of the human experience, and therefore, is an identity just like ethnicity, sexuality, spirituality, etc.

In reference to the autistic community, we generally refer to ourselves as “autistic people”. Our autism is a part of our daily lives and ought to be seen a way we identify ourselves culturally. In fact, I prefer “autistic person” in reference to myself and others on the spectrum, though I use both terms interchangeably (depending on my audience). I stand behind the autistic community preferring identity-first language over person-first.

However, what if the person supports autism pride and acceptance, but wants to be referred to as “a person with autism” instead of “autistic person”? Should the autistic community shun and correct them?

I cannot speak for the autistic community as a whole. But personally, if they uphold the essential principles of autism acceptance, then why waste the energy in trying to convince the person to identify themselves as “autistic” instead or “person with autism”? I would respect that person, as well as the person who identity themselves as autistic and share similar principles.

While I understand the need to emphasize autism as an identity and experience, we as autistic people shouldn’t heavily police how we express our identity. If we, as a community, continue to dictate how one should identify themselves, then we will not only alienate some on the spectrum, but also lose focus on promoting the essence of autistic pride.

Consider the African-American community for instance. Some call themselves “Afro-American”, some prefer “black”, some would say “African-American”, and there a few who still prefer the term “Negro” (I don’t use it but I understand people who were born before the 1960s using that term). That community also have a set of terms that shouldn’t be used to describe the people (e.g., n****rs, Sambo, bucks, etc.). I am certain there are similar lists of terms that can and cannot be used to describe people in other minority groups.

Can the autistic community set up something similar to what ethnic minority communities, or marginalized communities in general, do already? That way, we could focus more on calling out people who use slurs against us instead of calling out autistic people who prefer to describe themselves as “people with autism” instead of “autistic people”. I personally would be fine with someone using either terms to describe themselves. But, I would rather see the autistic community come together to combat things that are threatening our existence, including racism within the autistic community, attacks on medical and social supports by governments, poor media representation of autistic people.

Signed,

Timotheus